Sadistic Force – First Strikes

Asa delves into the Blackened Thrash of Sadistic Force

Do you like your Thrash fast, aggressive and blackened? Well do we have a treat for you! Sadistic Force are a Black/Thrash outfit from Austin, Texas. Formed in 2020, they’ve released two E.P’s, which have now been compiled into one complete collection called First Strikes. There isn’t much information available about the band. Metal Archives says that James Oliver (also in the Thrash band Dibilitator) takes care of Vocals, Guitars and Bass and that Hell Troll is responsible for the drums. However, I’ve also been told that James actually does everything himself, much like another James from a certain UK based Black/Thrash band… Apparently people named James love their Thrash Metal blackened. So, are these two First Strikes deadly? Let’s get to the riffs and find out!

The first four songs are all from the debut E.P, Pain, Sex and Rapture. ‘Frost Tower’ kicks things straight into high gear, with a mix of Motörhead inspired riffing and classic New Wave of British Heavy Metal lead work before ripping into Thrashing mayhem. The chorus provides catchy chord progressions, and a mid-paced neck snapper brings us some lower, Death Metal-esque vocals that work well with the higher blackened shrieks utilized throughout most of the track. Just after the 2-minute mark is a shredding solo that has plenty of melody. The track shows you what you can expect going forward, offering us plenty of different elements to chew on within a little over 3 minutes. ‘Pain, Sex and Rapture’ brings us the Black Metal, with dark tremolo picked riffs backed by destructive blast beats. The song switches between blackened atmospheres and Thrashing brutality, with a side of Heavy Metal catchiness. The riffs are as catchy as they are punishing, with another reverb-drenched solo to satisfy the shred hungry beasts in all of us.

The third track, ‘The Blade Itself’, fades in with Maiden worship melody before abruptly switching the tempo and tearing out your throat. The riffs keep coming, with plenty of Thrash to chew on, whether it’s outright speed to conjure up one-man bedroom mosh pits or mid-paced crushers that guarantee you a trip to a chiropractor. The Maiden worship is reprised a couple of times to help tie things together, with more Motörhead influences heard throughout. The final track from the first half is a cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Hellbent For Leather’ and it is solid work. It also helps highlight how much NWOBHM influence is littered throughout the proceedings. This is a faster, more aggressive approach to the song and opts to up the tempo in some sections for a full-on Black/Thrash assault.

The second half of the compilation is taken from the second E.P, Black Moon Sadism. The title track kicks things off with more NWOBHM melodies and mid-paced riff work, before upping the tempo with typical Black/Thrash aggression, with a focus on the Black Metal atmospheres. There’s more chaotic shredding and one riff even contains a bit of a technical edge to it. It isn’t an out-and-out Thrasher, but instead opts to blend all the different styles seamlessly into one. ‘The Cauldron’ however decides to up the speed and the Thrash, bringing you all you could want from a Blackened Thrash rager. The verse riff wouldn’t sound out of place on a Hellripper record, with howling shrieks and guttural gut-bursters contrasting excellently. There’s still some of the Norwegian flavoured Black Metal sprinkled throughout, as shown during the solo section, but it’s used to compliment the insanity of Thrash as opposed to detracting from it. The final track, ‘Billion Dollar Sadist’ is another cover, this time of Turbonegro’s ‘Zillion Dollar Sadist’. It’s vastly different to the Priest cover, and to everything else on the record. It’s faster than the original version, upping the Punk vibes from the original version even further, but don’t expect anything Thrash or even Black Metal about this, bar the vocals. It’s pretty much the original song, but with a tempo change. An odd way to end things, but it’s good to hear where all these different influences are coming from. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear an early Metallica or Exodus cover on the next release by this point.

So, are these First Strikes deadly? The answer is an obvious yes. Remove the covers and look at the original material and it’s clear that Sadistic Force know how to deliver a Black/Thrash assault on the senses. The various influences throughout all merge together well, and most importantly for an album of this kind… It’s fun! When you’re mixing Thrash, Speed, Heavy, Black and Punk, it can all get a bit much if done incorrectly. Songs could meander and sound a little lost, confused. However, such is not the case here. The songs are short, to the point and make sure to pick the strongest parts of each influence and use it to their benefit. The production feels incredibly raw and old school, with gritty, ridiculously over-driven guitars being the focus here. The bass is all about bringing the low-end, with the drums pushed back a little. This is the only real critique I have, they’re sometimes a little too in the background, but it’s a pretty small thing and is obviously an intentional choice to generate that old school, DIY vibe that the Black/Thrash scene has become known for. The vocal performance is solid work, using some mids and lows here and there, plus a few super high shrieks to add a few dynamics to the typical blackened howls that make up the main vocal style. It’d be nice to hear the variety used a little more in the future, but the vocals pack a punch and fit neatly into the music. The covers are decent but may not be for everyone so if you’re here just for the Black/Thrash you know and love, then they wouldn’t be essential listening, though I do think the Priest cover is great stuff.

Overall, it’s an excellent release that will please anyone who loves their Thrash Metal mixed with NWOBHM and Black Metal stylings. I’m excited to see where this project goes in the future, but for now this will have to do. Black/Thrash fans, if you haven’t already, make sure you pick this one up on release. It’s well worth your time.

Sadistic Force – First Strikes – Is available in the UK on Old School Cassette from Mercenary Press – The first pressing is limited to 50 cassettes and will come with a patch and pin! Available from 02/04/2021 https://mercenarypress.bandcamp.com or Digitally on the bands own BandCamp HERE

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